Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and 67 state parks, but what are we doing to protect them? Thousands of people visit these parks and lakes every day, but did you know that you can volunteer through the Minnesota DNR and make a change in your neighborhood? Through the DNR’s website there are volunteer opportunities categorized by the different parts of MN. For example in the Metro and Central MN area there are one day events like the Mississippi riverboat cleanup or there are volunteer opportunities that can be scheduled whenever, like volunteering as a state trail monitor, become a master naturalist or volunteer for the loon watching survey.
All of these volunteer opportunities can make a difference in how long our parks and lakes are around for. The DNR offers trainings for all the volunteers on exactly what they will be doing or documenting during each event or volunteer activity. There are volunteers that have been helping the DNR for years even people that have worked for the DNR that are retired and still come back to volunteer. These are people that love nature like Diane Carlson from Brainerd, Minnesota, a retiree from the DNR that has made her way back as a volunteer for the Nongame Wildlife Program. She works primarily on the Loon Watch Survey but also maintains files with original surveys and maps, and assists with the annual mailing of survey materials to 800 volunteers across the state.
The DNR is setting the stage for environmentalists and people that love nature to take a stance and do something that can better their own community and preserve our parks and lakes.